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The Nine Lives of Edgar Fahs Smith

Edgar Fahs Smith

On exhibit October 19, 2004 - March 5, 2005

This exhibition examines the many lives of Edgar Fahs Smith (1854-1928)—scientist, educator, administrator, historian, collector, citizen. For nearly forty years, Smith served the University of Pennsylvania in a range of capacities, as Instructor (1876-1881), Professor of Chemistry (1888-1920), Vice-Provost (1899-1910), and finally as Provost (1911-1920). We focus on specific aspects of Smith's life—his "nine lives"—in order to reveal the distinct role each played in his larger "life."

Smith’s longstanding commitment to the University—its students and its mission—is revealed through books and manuscripts, photographs and memorabilia, from his papers and his personal collections, now housed as the Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection in the History of Chemistry and located in the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library. These documents are brought to life with excerpts from Smith’s unpublished memoir, which take us back nearly a century to an period when the academic community was dealing with many of the same issues it faces today.

Tour the virtual exhibition.

Exhibition opening

Tuesday, October 19, 5:00 pm

Remarks by Dr. Arnold Thackray, President, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and by Amos B. Smith, Rhodes-Thompson Prof. of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania.
Class of ‘28 Lounge, first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

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